Despite the toughen-up attitude pervasive in fashion, there’s no reason clothing has to sacrifice innovation or modern presence to conform to the dire times. But Junko Shimada, who has been designing since the ’60s, appeals to this creative opportunism with clothing that simultaneously evokes Baroque opulence and futuristic edge.
Shimada’s avant-garde pieces at times appear like life-size pieces of cake or even oversized pearl necklaces—a welcome experimentation that also looks refined, elegant and, most importantly, wearable. “We are very close to nature and to tradition,” Shimada explains, of her approach with partners François Agostini and Christopher Corbier. “Nature is inspiring, powerful, it is always moving toward the future.”
Though seemingly abrasive, the silhouettes almost feel at home in a Victorian novel, while electric colors and intense patterns—rocket ships moving through space, giant swans and lobsters competing for attention on the same garment—look chic, and paradoxically ready-to-wear due to perfect execution. The clothes feel like a glimpse into the future that’s also in sync with both the past and the present. “Tradition is grounding,” Shimada says, before adding: “We respect it, but we like to brutalize it too.”
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